10 Steps to an Organized Christmas – Step 9

You’ve done a great job so far….now, it’s all about making this easier for next year too.

Getting Organized for Christmas

Task #9 – Don’t forget to take notes!

As you work through you tasks…baking, buying, wrapping, hiding, giving, eating, etc….make corrections on your pages.  At the end of the season, or when you pull this out next year, it will be easy to make updates.

Task 1 – Do you have enough places to hide things?  If not, make notes for next year.  If you have trustworthy folks….you can hide things in plain sight.

Task 2 – Have you realized that you forgot someone on your gift list? (I did!)  Add them on in RED ink at the end of the spreadsheet or notebook.

Task 3 - Did you forget about something to make….tags for gifts? Hostess gift?  Add them on your “things to make list” for next year.

Task 4 - What events came up that you’d forgotten. (we’re attending one tonight!)  I’m adding it onto my list in RED ink.

Task 5 - Are there things that you found after doing inventory that you’d bought last year and forgotten about?  Make notes when you do your post-holiday bargain shopping this year.  Next year you’ll already know that you’ve purchased bows, tissue, x-mas cards, etc.  Also – make notes about things that have worn out and will need to be replaced (strings of lights, garland)

Task 6 - Did someone show up with a great dish that you’d like to remember for next year?  Write it down!  Tear out magazine pages to add to your binder for next year’s parties.

Task 7 - Take photos of your decorations.  Make notes of what you liked and didn’t like.  What do you want to add or change next year.  Chances are, by next year, those ideas will be long forgotten.  Make notes while it’s fresh in your mind.

Task 8 - Did your plan work?  Did you put too much at the beginning? or save too much for the end?  Would it have been easier to wrap as you go, or save all the wrapping to the end?  Bake early & freeze vs bake at the last minute?  Make notes on your calendar/schedule for next year.


Tomorrow is the Big Day

It all starts tomorrow…..

Advent  – Preparing your Heart for Christmas….

These are daily posts that will arrive at 4 am each day.  If you have kids, it’s helpful to give them their “daily challenge” before they leave the house in the morning.  That night at dinner, you can discuss how everyone did on their challenge.


December Delights

Are you a scrapbooker? Journaler? Blogger?  These are daily topics to use a journal prompts, photo opps, or simply dinnertime discussion with your family…all about the little stuff that makes the Christmas season so special.  (Posted under “Celebrating Little Moments” categories.

10 Steps to an Organized Christmas – Step 7

Getting Organized for Christmas

Task #7- Deck the Halls

It’s usually too much to try and decorate the whole house (inside and out) at the same time.  So, your best plan is to break it into manageable pieces.  To do that, you need to pack up your Christmas decorations the way you want to decorate.

  1. Organize your decorations by room, or groups of rooms.  Don’t forget to label!  Labels do not have to be fancy! (these are pieces of scrap paper that are just placed inside of the boxes so you can read them)
  2. When you open a box for that room….unpack it, then fill the box with all of the everyday decor from that room.   You rooms won’t look overdecorated because the everyday decor has been removed.  You won’t have to find a place for all of that stuff.  Lastly, un-decorating will be just as simple as decorating.This method works REALLY well with kids.  They all want to help, but lose interest/steam if you try to do the whole house.  With your decorations packed by room…it’s easy to decorate one room at a time.  If there’s an extra 45 min one evening, you can pull out a box.


10 Steps to an Organized Christmas – Step 6

Anyone hungry??  Time to pull out all of your recipes for delicious Christmas cookies and treats…

Getting Organized for Christmas

Task #6 – Menus and Grocery Lists

Do you make Christmas cookies?  Christmas candy?  Do you host any Christmas parties?  A fancy Christmas breakfast?  Take a dish to pass anywhere?

Now is the time to pull out all of those recipes and make menus for all of your holiday events.

  1. Make a copy of each recipe and put it into your Christmas binder
  2. Make a big grocery list with the ingredients for each recipe.
  3. Inventory your cupboard to be sure that there’s enough of your basics. You don’t want to run out in the middle of a recipe.
  4. If a recipe requires prep (if something needs to be thawed or prepared the day before) – be sure that the prep work is noted on your calendar.
  5. Make up your hostess gifts ahead of time, so they’re wrapped, tagged, and ready to grab on the way out the door.

Basics to Inventory

  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Vanilla
  • Sugar
  • Flower
  • Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • Powdered Sugar

Here’s a few more items that you don’t want to forget:

  • Beverages (Hot and Cold), (Adult & Kids)
  • Paper Plates/Bowls
  • Cups (Hot and Cold)
  • Foil & Plastic Wrap
  • Disposable Serving Dishes
  • Baking Powder & Soda
  • Sprinkles/Sugars/Cookie Decorations


10 Steps to an Organized Christmas – Step 5


Getting Organized for Christmas

Task #5 – Take Inventory

Now that you have lists of what to buy, what to do, & where to go….it’s time to pull out everything we have on hand….and cross the things of your list that you don’t need. (Remember those new x-mas lights, bows, & decorations that you bought last year at the end of the season….)

Inventory Your House….look for the following things:

  • Christmas Outfits & Shoes
  • Baking Ingredients
  • Gifts you’ve already purchased and hid
  • Wrapping Supplies
  • Hostess Gifts
  • Decorations that you bought at the end of the season on clearance
  • Magazine & Newspaper Clippings (or pinterest pins) on decor, gift, and food ideas that you liked


10 Steps to an Organized Christmas – Step 4

Are you feeling organized yet?  This is the last of the BIG steps…the rest is smooth sailing from this point forward!

Getting Organized for Christmas

Task #4 – Put All of Your Events ON the Calendar

Now – don’t forget to work backwards too… for each event that you add on the calendar:

  1. Put the item on a specific date
  2. Make a note of the item(s) needed for that event (outfit, hostess gift, dish to pass, etc) and make sure that you’ve included them in your “Things to Buy List” & “Things to Make List”
  3. Add the item prep as a calendar item too (i.e.  “Make dessert for Work Potluck”)
  4. If you need a babysitter/dogsitter for the event, make a note and call to book the sitter(s) for all of the events at the same time.  Add a note (or initials) for each date so you know which sitter is booked for which date.
  5. Lastly – if you’re making a x-mas binder….keep a list of the events that you’ve added to your calendar for your binder.  It’ll save you time next year.  You can download mine here for a starter.

This is how my family calendar looks…I put all of the x-mas events in Red pen.







Sample Christmas Events

        • Work Holiday Parties
        • Family x-mas His Family
        • Family x-mas Her Family
        • Cut down a tree
        • Put up x-mas Tree
        • Tree Trimming
        • Cookie Exchanges
        • Caroling
        • Kid’s Extracurricular Parties (Scout Parties, Band Parties)
        • Church X-mas Program & Rehearsals
        • School Concerts & Rehearsals
        • Drive thru light shows
        • Walking Light shows
        • Other – Looking at Lights
        • Cookie Decorating
        • Gingerbread House Decorating
        • Indoor Decorating
        • Outdoor Decorating
        • Christmas Movie Night
        • Make Ornaments
        • Ladies Night Out/Shopping Day
        • Mom & Dad Shopping Day
        • Sister’s Get Together
        • Visit Santa
        • Christmas Photos
        • Live Nativity
        • Christmas Eve Service
        • Christmas Eve Family Event
        • Christmas Day Service
        • Christmas Day Family Event
        • Rockette’s Christmas Program (or similar)
        • Wrap presents
        • Shopping
        • Make Teacher Gifts
        • Bake Cookies
        • Decorate the House
        • Trim the Tree
        • Update x-mas card list
        • Order x-mas cards
        • Write a x-mas letter
        • Make Christmas Cards
        • Stuff envelopes & send out cards
        • Write a letter to Santa
        • Get  your Christmas Music Playlist together

10 Steps to an Organized Christmas – Step 3

As you’re working your way through the 10 Steps to an Organized Christmas….check out this video about making a Christmas Binder.  Many of my ideas are from this video. (I have not read the e-book that the binder is based on, but it sounds really helpful.)

Getting Organized for Christmas

Task #3 – Make a List of Everything You Need to Make (and your Budget)

This include Gifts and Food items.  Here’s a few ideas to get you started:DIY wrapping paper

  • X-mas Cards
  • Wrapping Paper
  • Gift Tags
  • Cookies
  • Candy
  • Dish to Pass at Holiday Parties
  • Hostess Gifts
  • Fruitcakes
  • Food & Drink Gifts
  • Outdoor Decor (birdseed ornaments, etc)

10 Steps to an Organized Christmas – Step 2

OK…once you have all of your materials gathered, it’s time to get to work.

Getting Organized for Christmas

Task #2 – Make a List of Everything You Need to Purchase (and your Budget)

This include Gifts and Other things.  Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  • Spouse
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Kids
  • Siblings
  • Aunts/Uncles
  • Cousins
  • Nieces/Nephews
  • Grandchildren
  • Neighbors
  • Teachers
  • Coaches
  • Service Gifts (Hairdresser, paper carrier)
  • Charity (Toys for Tots)
  • Giving Tree at Church or School
  • Adopted Families/Kids
  • Hostess Gifts for Parties you will Attend
  • Babysitter
  • Other Expenses
  • Christmas Outfits
  • Christmas Cards & Stamps

Once you have your list – you need to record it in an organized manner.  There are two basic ways to keep track of this.

  1. Small Notebook. (you can use a similar digital feature in your phone)  If you use a notebook, the easiest way is to write ONE person’s name on each page, along with the amount that you plan to spend on that person.  You may also want to write any gift ideas that you have.  As you shop, write what you’ve purchased and how much you’ve spent on that page.
  2. Spreadsheet.  I use an Excel spreadsheet because it adds everything up for me.  I update the spreadsheet when I get home from shopping and go through my receipts.  I also can print it out and leave it folded inside my purse so I don’t forget what I’ve already bought.  You can look at a *.pdf version of my spreadsheet, or use the Excel version as a template for yourself.
  3. Here‘s my list that I start from.


10 Steps to an Organized Christmas – Step 1

Is it really possible to have Holidays without Hassle?  Maybe not, but starting these 10 Tasks NOW will really take off the stress, and leave you with a December to relax and enjoy. I will be posting a task or two each week, so you can get them all done in Nov, and enjoy December with you family.

Getting Organized for Christmas

Task #1- Getting Started

First, you need to gather your materials:

1 – Blank Calendar (a computer printout is fine)
You will later transfer this to your family calendar (and/or phone).

2 – Spreadsheet or small notebook for gifts list
The notebook needs to fit into your purse
(you can also put the list in your phone)

3 – A three-ring binder with tab and slip-in sleeves
The binder doesn’t have to be new (repurpose an old one) You can also use a folder, but the binder is much more durable and organized.  Have your kids make artwork for the cover.

4 – Figure out where you will store your gifts.
Do you have a closet that locks? Brown paper bags or bins inside the closet labeled with names are easy.  I’ve had friends tell me they keep gifts in their camper, their attic, and their own closet or under beds.

My own parents (now empty nesters) keep bins for their kids and grandkids in an empty closet.  That way, when a B-Day or Christmas gift is bought for someone, it’s put into their bin.